Tara and Mitch Lieberman say their boys have so much energy. They carefully limit the amount of caffeine her kids consume. "I just feel that its healthier to give them juices with low sugar amounts, water, milk, stuff like that. We try to keep it at small amounts. Little bit of chocolate, not too much sweets," Tara said.
Caffeine is hard to avoid these days. No longer just in coffee, tea and colas, it's now added to many new products - from energy drinks, to snacks and candy.
And while we've known for some time that caffeine raises blood pressure and lowers heart rate, today's study in the Journal of Pediatrics reveals how it affects boys and girls differently after puberty. The report, from the University of Buffalo, studied the impact of even small amounts of caffeine on children ages eight to nine and on teenagers ages 15 to 17. The younger kids got about the caffeine equivalent of a half to full can of soda. The teens got one to two cans' worth. Among all the groups, the teenage boys experienced slightly higher blood pressure levels than the girls.
Researchers in this study aren't sure why teenage boys are more sensitive to caffeine, but suspect it has to do with hormones. Another concern: The effects of caffeine on millions of kids with other medical issues like ADHD.
"If you take asthma medication, if you take other medication, behavioral medications, this can be a big problem. It is something that has a biological effect on our bodies, and we have to be careful," says Dr. Madelyn Fernstom.